There could be a host of catering recruitment opportunities on the horizon in Leeds, after chiefs in the region announced contracts are to be made available in three of the city's hospitals.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals is to outsource catering services at the St James’s, Chapel Allerton and Wharfedale hospitals in order to improve their financial picture, as it is currently making a loss.
A spokesperson for the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said that a number of attempts had been made to turn the issue around and start performing better but to no avail, hence the need to outsource.
"We have therefore decided to put the contract to run staff and visitor catering facilities at these three hospitals out to tender," the spokesperson added.
"A precedent for this exists, as these services at Leeds General Infirmary are already run successfully by an external contractor, and this provides an income stream for the Trust."
However, the move has attracted some dismay as it means that the volunteer services currently run at the hospitals will need to close because the new contracts will take into account all patient refreshment services.
Paul Taylor, the North West area manager for volunteer charity WRVS, said the move was a real blow for all those who had helped out. However, he also explained that there may be future opportunities in Leeds hospitals.
"We’re talking to all of the volunteers about new opportunities – including at our retail site at Seacroft Hospital – and hope many will continue working with us," he said.
Mr Taylor went on to thank the volunteers for their efforts, saying that they "have been very much appreciated" by the patients who had used these services.
However, the future looks likely to add more promise for those in the catering industry, with employment likely to grow as a result of these contracts.
As well as providing refreshments for patients, the new contracts will also includes provisions for staff.
Berkeley Scott is a specialist recruitment agency in the food industry